What are industrial revenue bonds?

In the growing furor surrounding public-private partnerships in Wichita, one of the things you notice quickly in the Internet comments on these stories is a huge misconception: Industrial revenue bonds are a giveaway of taxpayer money.

In fact, they are not. Here’s some required reading if you’re interested in what an IRB issue actually is.

Generally speaking, the only direct taxpayer involvement comes through tax abatements associated with the issue. While that’s an economic development policy worthy of debate, it’s in use in virtually every municipality in the nation.